Dead Garden (a poem)

watching from the fire escape

I breathe in daylight, fresh air

a blue jay lands in a dead garden

her colors brilliant & offensive

dried leaves rustling like

fading nightmares

an urge to suck in colors before me

& vomit them back out

like the Destroyer God who

crushes galaxies in his hands

(Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash)

Cold Cemeteries (a poem)

the only freedom I want

is to break my ego’s chains

which confine me in cold cemeteries

to the dead,

who rise each night & breathe fire

only I can see,

who speak in a language

only I can understand,

telling me with certitude

I’ll join them soon

& also haunt the living

(Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash)

The Eve of the Funeral (a poem)

On the eve of the funeral, there was a knot in my stomach –

his death was so sudden

a Friday night phone call + he’s gone forever

I felt panic, a wave of grief that threatened to demolish me

my sister stepped into the summer night + screamed

a primal shout that began long years of healing.

(Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash)

When Democracy Died (a poem)

When democracy died, I was reading Kafka –

gunshots blared + factions fought for ideals

they thought worth dying for –

TVs tuned to Washington +

the White House went dark,

troops marched + destroyed dissidents.

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Sainthood (a poem)

What happened to the woman who

was nearly stoned to death?

Jesus said to not sin again,

but if she’s like me, she was

back in sweaty sheets later that day,

engaged in sinful acts – it’s a fact that

we’re far from saints + sainthood is

a hatred of humanity

but Jesus was half-God,

so it’s not so odd to believe

He died for me + whether I sin today

or tomorrow doesn’t matter much

because grace is free

(Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash)

Church Basements (a poem)

A teacher told my mother I’d join a cult –

that was in the ‘90s + twenty years later,

I was a recovery zealot, driving through

snowstorms to share my sorrows with

strangers, always thinking I was in danger,

fighting my impulses + a mind that

seemed to want me dead.

(Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash)

Buried Treasure (a poem)

Buried deep in this sea, there is ancient treasure –

it’s been hidden for ages, from a sunken ship

that carried gold and human remains,

but all that remains

are brittle bones, skulls + chests filled with fortune –

I’ll dive deep + discover it, even if it kills me,

bring it back to this sandy shore so I can

explore this coastline dotted with land mines

from a distant war – the war that took my father + tore

this island nation to pieces: the woman wailing,

lonely in their huts without their husbands +

the children afraid of the night

when mutant-men prowl swamplands of death

+ devour human and beast alike.

(Photo by Max Okhrimenko on Unsplash)

Reborn (a poem)

This birthmark on my back is a mark I carry

from body to body – I die, am reborn

in another time, but my soul remains the same –

forever after the same truth, relentless in pursuit +

snared in masses of mankind + the death-march of progress

toward blood-soaked extinction or utopian dream

(Photo by Majid Rangraz on Unsplash)

Note: This poem was inspired by a theme in the novel, Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. It’s a terrific book and I highly recommend it!

When I Die (a poem)

When I die, I want to go quietly – free from the miseries

of my body breaking down, organs sickened,

cutting off life as drift away.

When I die, I want to wake in a better world,

away from earth’s torments + the adverse emotions

gurus say we must bear.

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Impending Doom (a poem)

Where do those neighbors get their money?

They’re up late on weeknights, drinking beer,

playing games in the street – the young woman

has glazed eyes, she’s always stoned;

the boyfriend doesn’t have a care

in the world, in a world

where so many are dying

and a feeling of impending doom

clutches us by the throat.

(Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash)